Tuesday, March 16, 2010

"Lost" recap: You work your side of the island, I'll work mine

Spoilers for this week's episode of "Lost" after the break, so don't click through if you don't want to see.

"It's sad, really, how little you know."
-- Charles Widmore
Boy, that was a meta moment, wasn't it? For much of this, "Lost's" final season, many fans have been hugely frustrated by just HOW little we know. What is this alternate universe all about? Is it real? Is the island universe real? Are they both real? Where did the Locke Mess Monster come from? Where does he want to go? What's going on with Sayid and Claire?
And most importantly, what IS that Island?
These are all questions that have yet to be answered. And, yes, I'm pretty sure that Charles's little remark was a snide commentary on the way this show plays with us. But, no matter. As I've said before, I'm confident that this show knows where it's going, and I'm just enjoying the ride.
Besides, how can I complain when this week's episode, "Recon," gave me so much of the things I like: Miles, a LaFleur reference, Terry O'Quinn's smile and, of course, shirtless Sawyer.
In this episode, we learn what Sawyer's bizarro life is like and, boy, it's probably the biggest departure from the Original Recipe Lost we've seen so far. Like Island Sawyer, Alternate Universe Sawyer saw his dad kill his mom, and kill himself. This Sawyer also harbors a grudge against Anthony Cooper (apparently, this version of Locke's dad must not be a good guy after all). But, unlike Island Sawyer, this Sawyer, when standing at the crossroads of cop and criminal, opted to be on the right side of the law.
Interesting. Even more intriguing? Miles is his partner! Now, I think most of us can agree that Ken Leung is at his best when paired with Jorge Garcia's Hurley. But it's also great fun to watch Leung parry with Josh Holloway's Sawyer. They have a nice, gruff chemistry together.
 But I digress. The real question is this: What made Sawyer (aka Jim) become a cop in this reality? He's still as angry as the original Sawyer, but not quite as self-hating. Maybe this Sawyer grew up under better circumstances? Maybe he had more love? More support?
Whatever the reason, this version of Sawyer, is at least, marginally healthier than the original. He has his job and a good friend in Miles. And he almost -- almost -- has a relationship with Charlotte, until he pushes her away when she finds his Sawyer file.
His anger in that moment proves that there's still a dark side to this James Ford. It's that darkness, perhaps, that allowed him to let Kate escape when he bumped into her at the airport, even though, as a cop, he should have stopped her. Or maybe, as I've hypothesized before, the "old" Sawyer is still in there. And that Sawyer, as we know, will always break the rules and do other stupid stuff out of his love for Kate.
At any rate, this odd couple is reunited again at episode's end, when the car she's driving collides with Sawyer's car as he's chatting with Miles (note: at this point, I automatically get tense whenever a character on this show steps into a car. It almost always results in a crash, or a hijacking or a mysterious being handing someone a guitar case containing a giant wooden ankh).
Meanwhile, Island Sawyer is having an equally complicated time of things. The Locke Mess Monster plans to use him to manipulate the newly arrived Charles Widmore. Sawyer, cagily relying on his conman instincts, convinces Charles that he'll hand Locke Mess over. He tells Locke Mess that this is the best way to catch Widmore with his pants down when they attack. But, all along, Sawyer plots to play Locke Mess and Charles against each other, so he and Kate can escape on the submarine. Smart -- but, of course, these plans never work. Looking forward to seeing how this plot goes horribly awry.
Here are some more thoughts on "Recon":
* The episode title has a nice double meaning. Locke Mess sends Sawyer to do "recon" on the other island, and, in doing so, forces him to pick up the mantle of the con man once again. 
* As Sawyer is weaving his scheme, Kate is dealing with her own problems, as Claire finally tries to make good on her threat to kill ol' Freckles. It's Locke Mess who saves her, and chastises Claire for her actions. He later explains that Claire's behavior is his fault; that he made her think the Others took her baby. When she learned otherwise, she took all her hate and anger out on Kate. Locke Mess tries to bond with Kate, telling her that Claire has become much like his own crazy mother. So far, Kate isn't falling for it -- but I kind of am. What can I say? Terry O'Quinn's smile is pretty powerful.
* Lots of great inside jokes in the alternative timeline, and I'm pretty sure I missed a bunch. However, I did notice that Sawyer's "I'm in trouble" code word while he's undercover is "LaFleur" -- his name when he was hiding out among the Dharma-ites. And I think we all noticed Charlie's brother Liam coming to the police station to pick him up.  I also laughed when Sawyer's mark in the opening scene called him "Dimples." Ha! The nicknamer has become the nicknamed!
*One more in-joke -- alt-Sawyer has "Watership Down" sitting on his dresser.  He also read that book on the island.
* Show of hands -- who wishes that the series put the credits for the guest cast at the end of the episode instead of the beginning? I knew Sawyer's blind date was Charlotte almost immediately, because I saw Rebecca Mader's name in the credits. Similarly, I knew it was Charles in the sub at the end of last week's ep because Alan Dale's name was in the credits. Those credits are shock killers!
* During his date with Charlotte, Sawyer mentions the Steve McQueen movie "Bullitt." That's one of my husband's favorite movies, so I paraphrased a line from it to create this post's title.
* OK, how much do I love it that alt-Sawyer has a moment of clarity while watching a tender moment between Melissa Gilbert and Michael Landon on "Little House on the Prairie?" Actually, how much do I love that alt-Sawyer is a fan of "Little House"? Maybe watching Laura and Pa all those years is what made him decide to become a cop. Maybe that show raised him! "Little House" saves lives, people!


Bill Scurry said...

Miles episode or no, we're all very excited about next week's Richard-Fest. Should be a good'un.

Col. Mike said...

He also had two other books on his dresser, Lancelot and A Wrinkle in Time. I believe he read them at some time on the show. I got a definite "set up" vibe from this one. The mythology dump comes next week, I hope.